By Raymundo Muñoz
Time has an easy way of slipping through our fingers — mine especially — and sometimes good shows fall through the cracks. One such show was Naomi Haverland’s exuberant “The New Masters of Dada” at Helikon Gallery’s secondary space Gallery 101. The show ran from Feb. 3 – 24 and featured the artist’s painted homages to youth. Full of strange props and silly faces, I couldn’t help but smile and recall a simpler, wilder, more imaginative time in my life. Haverland makes the case that such time draws parallels with the Dada (anti-) art movement, especially in its emphasis on chaos and lack of deep meaning.
While her pieces do touch on those elements — kids have a special way of doing random things in fun and brilliant ways — one may also consider the origins of Dada and its rejection of the insanity of WWI. In such a context, this series seems paler. The rejection in this case, though, seems more to do with the expectations artists have in the work they create, specifically in the often contrived results. Finding that elusive natural, spontaneous, “organic” feeling can be a challenge, and replicating it can be quite another. Artists have their ways: drink, drugs, sex, meditation, etc. Naomi, though, finds inspiration in childhood, and maybe that’s a better way.
For more information about “The New Masters of Dada,” visit helikongallery.com/gallery/archive/new-masters-of-dada. For more of Naomi Haverland’s work, visit naomihaverland.blogspot.com. Pictures taken at Feb. 3 opening reception.